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HIGHLIGHTS - Ireland back to winning ways

28 February 2011

  • Ronan O'Gara leads Ireland to an away win 
  • Scotland still seeking first 2011 6N victory

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Scotland 18 Ireland 21

Scotland are still looking for their first win of this year's RBS 6 Nations after Ireland held on for a 21-18 victory at Murrayfield.

Ronan O'Gara inspired the win by scoring a try and kicking three conversions on his return to the starting XV, while Scotland paid the price for being unable to cross the line.

Jamie Heaslip and Eoin Reddan also ran in tries for Ireland, who bounced back from a narrow loss to France last time out.

The hosts were not short of possession or territory throughout the match, but a try eluded them and a combined six successful kicks from Chris Paterson and Dan Parks were not enough.

Scotland fly-half Ruaridh Jackson, making his first Test start, missed an early opportunity to calm the nerves as he sent a long-range penalty wide after the visitors had been offside.

And shortly after Ireland took the lead. A chip through from the recalled O'Gara caused confusion in the Scotland defence and Heaslip went over untouched after the resulting line-out.

Scottish hopes raised

O'Gara added the conversion to further subdue the home crowd, but Scottish hopes were raised when Paterson nailed a penalty from the touchline after taking over kicking duties from Jackson.

An infringement from Heaslip at the breakdown then allowed Paterson to convert a much straighter attempt and bring Scotland to within one point.

A missed penalty from O'Gara gave them further impetus, but their momentum was halted by an ensuing scrappy period of play.

Scotland were made to pay once again in the 28th minute as Mike Blair was forced to carry the ball over his own try-line and opposing scrum-half Reddan nipped in to score from the following five-metre scrum.

The extras were added by O'Gara but Paterson then stepped up again to make it 14-9 on the half-hour mark as Ireland were penalised for not rolling away after the tackle.

With the likes of Heaslip and Paul O'Connell powering across the gain line, Ireland threatened to increase the advantage.

But Scotland escaped thanks to a penalty and would go into the half-time break still trailing by only five after a last-ditch tackle from Sean Lamont on Keith Earls kept them out of danger again.

Winning the numbers game

At the beginning of the second half, referee Nigel Owens finally tired of constant infringements at the scrum and showed the yellow card to Scotland prop Allan Jacobsen.

Ireland twice threatened through marauding runs from Sean O'Brien when the visitors had the numerical advantage before O'Gara finally broke through to touch down under the posts.

Scotland upped their game after the return of Jacobsen, with Paterson adding a fourth penalty to his tally from the left to make it 21-12.

The home side enjoyed plenty of possession but struggled to find the clinical touch, although replacement fly-half Parks did add another three points off the upright.

Parks then knocked over a drop-goal in the 70th minute after wing Max Evans broke through the defence to bring Scotland to within three and set up a tense finish.

The pressure continued as the clock wound down, but Ireland held firm as Scotland once again failed to make their possession pay.


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